Marine biodiversity data are essential to measure and study the ecosystem health of maritime basins. These data are often collected with limited spatial and temporal scope and are scattered over different organizations in small datasets for a specific species group or habitat. Therefore there is a continuous need to assemble these individual datasets, and process them into interoperable biological data products for assessing the environmental state of overall ecosystems and complete sea basins.
The Maritime Policy Blue Book, welcomed by the European Council in 2007, announced that the European Commission would take steps to set up a European Marine Observation and Data Network to improve access to high quality marine data for private bodies, public authorities and researchers.
- 2009-2012: A set of preparatory actions on biological data, hydrographic data, physical data, chemical data, geological data and broad scale habitats has been launched for a limited set of Sea Basins. It aims at gathering experience for a later permanent operational system. The main objective of the biology project was the development of an online marine biological data portal allowing the access and download of marine biological data across Europe. The biological lot focused on gathering available information and on the temporal and spatial distribution of species composition, abundance and biomass of phytoplankton, zooplankton, angiosperms, macro-algae, invertebrate bottom fauna, bird communities, sea mammals and reptiles. You can consult the final report of the biology preparatory action.
- 2013-2016: In the follow up project, a consortium of 21 government agencies and research institutes with national and international expertise in marine biological data monitoring and data management will build further upon the work carried out during the biological preparatory action of EMODnet and will deliver data, metadata and data products of surveys in the water column and on the sea bed from phytoplankton, zooplankton, angiosperms, marcoalgae, benthos, birds, mammals, reptiles and fish occurring in European marine waters. The EMODnet biological data portal will provide access to different thematic databases and to several long-term national marine biological monitoring datasets from all European regional seas. The project will identify and focus on biological data types, species, species attributes, sampling methods and biological indicators to support the variety of legislations, and will create biological data products to support environmental legislations including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.